The pressure to be a grown up or settle down is REAL.

So at what age do you become a grown up? Is this the right measure or is it more about the stage that you are in, in your life. This is something that I have discussed with friends recently and it baffles me that at 30 I really don’t feel that I am grown up. Is this because I am behind in some way or is it the social pressure to be settled down with a family or a partner. I know I am not the only one that at 30 and not being in a ‘stable relationship’ or having children I fell somewhat like I am failing in some way. So where are we feeling this pressure from is it our parents / friends or social media?

Parents

I speak to my mum who lives down in Essex probably around every other day and nearly every time we speak I get the ‘So have you anything else to report?’ which I now know code for ‘have you met anyone yet?’ Now to be fair my mum didn’t meet my dad until she was 35 and had me at 37, so at 30 going from her precedence I still have a few years to get there. Although my situation is a little different to hers as she was married before (a revelation I didn’t find out until I was 18) and with my mum having incurable cancer I feel she is desperate me to find someone stable to be there for me when the inevitable happens. Unfortunately this seems to scare the bejeesus out of people I date. Now I cannot be certain this is why people I have spoken to about my mum don’t want to date me (it can’t be my sparkling personality), but it seems to make people uneasy and I guess it could be a lot of pressure on that person in the near future. Anywho that’s enough about me. For most of my friends that don’t have children there is a common comment they tend to get from their parents which is ‘well when I was 29 I was married with 3 children’. But I am sure most of you will agree we live in different times now and marriage and kids isn’t necessarily what we all aspire to and what us modern gals measures our life success on.

Friends

Have you tried Tinder? I love when I get asked this question from my non single pals. Even my mum gets in on the action with this one ‘my friend has met two husbands on internet dating.’ I also get from friends / colleagues ‘I don’t understand why you are single you have so much going for you? (I am a catch I know). The answer is YES I HAVE TRIED TINDER and it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I might be too picky on Tinder but when you are judging a face and that is all you have to go by its hard. I have met people in real life on tinder and thought ‘yeah ok I will go for a drink with them’ but based on just their photo on the app I wouldn’t have given them that chance. I know it comes from a good place but when you’re married/ engaged friends try and give you advice on dating today when they haven’t needed to in years it is a little condescending. It is hard not to feel pressure from them that you are not doing enough or not doing ‘dating’ right. I am not sure what else I can try apart from dating apps, being sociable and going out so I can meet someone and settle down (maybe my personality isn’t as sparkling as I thought).

Social Media

I have spoken to many single friends about the constant feed on social media of ‘stage in your life’ pictures like fingers with rings on or scans next to a dog/ another child. Some of us definitely get that twang of disappointment that we are not even close to this stage. Rather than people being happy for each other (and for themselves even) it seems to have become a competition of how elaborate your proposal / announcement was. Generally it needs to be in when on holiday, at Christmas (don’t even get me started on this one) or at another big event of the year. So it seems to me now on social media we need the perfect engagement/ pregnancy to promote but also we have to announce to everyone that we have reached the next stage on the ladder to the perfect life by finding an innovative way of doing it. But what if you aren’t moving in with someone, getting married or having a child what can I celebrate on Facebook so everyone is happy or proud of me?? Have you ever seen as many likes on a post (that isn’t a great meme or hilarious video) as one that is the finger picture or the scan / baby picture…..I know I haven’t. I may sound bitter but I am genuinely happy for my friends who are celebrating news I just don’t like the culture of competition (I am not competitive by nature which could be down to my inability to win anything).

So if you are in a position like mine my only advice is try to think about yourself and where you want or need to be. Don’t take the pressure from outside and even from yourself. At the end of the day there is only so much you can do so maybe we will have to leave it up to the universe for that fictional character (the man of your dreams) to come into your life.

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